ACL & SAL through freight operations 1900-1910 : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Looking for info on ACL & SAL through freight operations 1900-1910 to/from RF&P and - PRR and B&O routes prior to the opening of Potomac Yard in 1906.

FROM Jim Foley CSX Clearance Bureau CSXT Jacksonville Formerly RF&P Pot Yd (1966-1992)

Bill Griffin Director Personnel and Labor Relations RF&P and CSXT RETIRED


(Note here: References below to the Washington SOUTHERN Railway= The WS RY was formed in 1890 from the Alexandria and Washington and The Alexandria & Fredericksburg RR, and was the railroad between Washington and Quantico which became the north end of the RF&P; the WS Ry owned and operated Potomac Yard in the interest of all of the original tenant lines after 1906)


We are looking for information on ACL and SAL freight operations between Alexandria and the south between 1900 and 1905 just prior to the opening of Potomac Yard. After Potomac Yard was opened in 1906, all operations for all roads changed dramatically, and we have a fairly good amount of (but not nearly enough) documentation from that time period on those operations after 1906.

PRR Connections to/from ACL and SAL and so routing: We have not had access to complete ACL and SAL annual reports, but have had access to PRR, PB&W and B&P annual reports, and RF&P and Washington Southern annual reports and other RF&P-Pot Yd original company materials and sources in our possession. We do know that around 1900-1905 the Pennsylvania RR did make classifications for southbound through freight cars via the Washington Southern-RF&P to ACL and SAL connections at Richmond from Greenville and Harcimus Cove (from float connections), Meadows, and Waverly, NJ; Edge Moor, DEL., and Baltimore Bayview for PRR trains MD5, MD13, MD11, MD7, MD3 BP25 and several daily sections of these and other symbol trains, and the B4, B6, B2 trains from PRR Enola, PA. (we are reasonably sure these were the PRR symbols at that time). Trains were blocked solid for either the SAL route or the ACL route with perhaps any RF&P traffic on the head or rear end. In turn the RF&P-WS generally moved through northbound connecting merchandise, perishable, LCL, Fast Freight, live poultry and stock cars from the ACL and SAL at Richmond to the PB&W (PRR) at Bennings Relay Yard, DC., using RF&P-WS crews (we do know for a fact they actually moved the trains (after 1901) from Richmond (Acca, Clopton and Hermitage) to and from Benning's Relay Yard. Prior to 1901 the RF&P crews changed with Washington Southern crews at Quantico; after 1901 all crews ran through between Richmond and Bennings (PRR) or Anacostia (B&O) Yards. The northbound trains from ACL and SAL were generally blocked solid from Acca (either mdse and/or pble, LCL, Fast Freight, live poultry, and live stock) for the PRR's North Jersey Terminals area (Greenville and Harcimus Cove (to NH and other float connections), Meadows and Waverly), Edge Moor, Baltimore Bayview, and Enola. Stock on short time and re-icers went to either Bayview, Enola or Edge Moor depending on icing instructions or stock rest expiration time. The northbound RF&P-WS trains connected to PRR Advance MD4, BP4, MD16, MD4, BP2, MD18, MD6, MD12 and the necessary daily sections of these trains that RF&P-WS relayed to the PRR. The RF&P-WS trains (which ran extra) appeared to have carried the ACL and SAL regular freight train designations through for identification purposes on the RF&P as they were operated on the ACL and SAL. B&O Connections to/from ACL and SAL and so routing: Again we have not had access to B&O annual reports at this time, but again supported by some ACL, SAL, RF&P and Washington Southern annual reports and other RF&P-Pot Yd original company materials and sources, we do know that around 1900-1905 the B&O did make classifications at Philadelphia (from CNJ and Philadelphia & Reading connections), Baltimore and Brunswick for southbound through freight cars to the Washington Southern-RF&P ACL and SAL connections at Richmond. The B&O also operated several trains daily from Brunswick and Baltimore with Richmond connection traffic to their Anacostia (DC) Yard for relay to the WS-RF&P. In turn the RF&P-WS generally moved through northbound connecting traffic for the B&O as previously described above for the PRR, from the ACL and SAL at Richmond to the B&O at Anacostia Yard using RF&P-WS qualified crews over the PB&W between South End (Long Bridge- RO today) and Anacostia. The B&O's Anacostia Yard was a small 4 track interchange located just at the north end of the Anacostia Moveable Bridge at PB&W's JU Block Station (Anacostia today) which connected to the B&O's Alexandria Branch main track. Northbound RF&P-WS B&O freight trains were generally blocked solid from Acca for Baltimore or Brunswick. Stock on short time and re-icers went to either Mt. Clare for re-icing, or Claremont Stock Yards, or westbound, to the icing and stock pen facilities at Brunswick depending on icing or ventilator instructions or the stocks rest expiration time. We know that as the SAL and ACL ran, so too ran the RF&P, northward and southward. As recorded on a RF&P-WS Train Dispatcher's sheet in April 1904, 4 full sections of Northbound ACL-RF&P-WS #204 were relayed to the PB&W at Bennings, as were 3 sections of ACL #212, and 3 sections of ACL #208. But just 1 regular SAL #202 and just 1 SAL #206) were relayed to the PB&W in the 24 hour period for a total movement of 12 northbound RF&P-PRR route trains. Southbound for that day WS-RF&P SAL #201 ran from Bennings in two sections for the SAL, and WS-RF&P ACL #207 ran in 3 sections for the ACL. One or two of the sections had B&O connection traffic, and it appears that perhaps the two Hermitage SAL trains were combos of both PRR and B&O SAL traffic doubled up at Anacostia or Hooff's Run Yard in Alexandria. THE ACL AND SAL QUESTIONS ARE: 1. What were the main line ACL and SAL through freight train numbers for that time period. We need confirmation that the through freights were numbered in the 100's and 200's for the ACL and in the 70's 80's for SAL.

2. Were northbound cars (prior to Pot Yd opening) just blocked for Acca or Hermitage for re-switching to B&O and PRR blocks at those locations prior to interchange to the RF&P, or were cars blocked from the deep south through for the B&O and PRR routes. Were any specific classifications made in the deep south for the northern roads, perhaps such as perishable traffic??

3. Where were the icing stations on the SAL and ACL? Did they ice all cars (again prior to Pot Yd opening) for the far northern destinations or just to the Baltimore icing stations of the B&O and PRR terminals, and Brunswick on the B&O?

4. Where were the major stock pen facilities that reloaded stock for the RF&P and the northern connections to ensure that the stock would reach the northern rest pens within the 28 or 36 hour limit? I have heard that all stock was unloaded and rested and reloaded at Rocky Mount and Raleigh prior to delivery to the RF&P so continued movement could be made- the inbound ACL or SAL train with stock being called northward by the RF&P on the immediate arrival of the inbound train because of the long time to get north of DC.

A very special question

5. The Rabbi's Cars. Does anyone have knowledge of this traffic, or any special handling given by the ACL or SAL to this traffic ??

In researching ACL and SAL northward perishable traffic from Pot Yd to the Northern markets via the PRR and the B&O-RDG-CNJ, and coupled with my own working knowledge of the NB perishable traffic and how we blocked it at Pot Yard for the PRR and the B&O-RDG-CNJ for connection to the car floats at the Jersey Terminals for floating to the various New York City markets and morning auctions, I discovered a certain segment of perishable (fruits and vegetables) and meats and dressed meats referred to up north as "The Rabbi's Cars".

This northbound ACL and SAL traffic (along with cars from the western roads) was apparently was moved by perishable and meat brokers, auction houses, and other Jewish interest (but not necessarily under total Jewish control) to the markets and auctions in Philadelphia, North Jersey, Manhattan, The Bronx (Bronx Terminal Market, Hunt's Point, Oak Point and Port Morris markets and auctions), Brooklyn and Queens markets and auctions via floats from Weehawken (NYC), Harcimus Cove (PRR) Greenville (PRR and LV), and Communipaw (B&O-RDG-CNJ) to the several piers and houses at those NY City locations.

It was necessary to have the "Rabbi's Cars" ready for loading at the floats in Jersey (on the Hudson) no later than 1200 Noon Thursday for floating, and they had to be placed with an absolute cut-off time of 12:00 Noon on Friday for the Rabbi's before any unloading could take place, and this also applied for full car load or LCL auction cars on moved on Lighterage for those locations.

Any assistance on this one will be greatly appreciated.

After Pot Yd opened in 1906, we are reasonably sure (but not absolutely certain) the following classifications were made at Potomac Yard Southbound for the ACL and SAL and their connections:

ACL and SAL Southbound Classifications from Potomac Yard

(about 1911 according to an old class track book I saw years ago at PY)


Richmond - Fast Freight (loads only, car load, LCL, perishable, poultry and Livestock

Richmond proper including Clopton and Clopton Locals Petersburg proper and N&W; Weldon Rocky Mount Florence Charleston Savannah Jacksonville Jacksonville Mty reefers (OK (cleaned) freezer, and ventilator cars, and cleaned live poultry cars Jacksonville Mty reefers (OK (cleaned) Armour cars only)


Richmond- Hermitage, (inc Bellwood and Norlina-Portsmouth Richmond- Fast Freight ALL loads, LCL, perishable, poultry and Livestock Raleigh Hamlet Columbia Savannah Jacksonville Baldwin (All mty reefers for cleaning and distribution)


-- Jim Foley (, March 06, 2003

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